Teacher Loses Veil Discrimination Case

The Muslim teaching assistant who refused to remove her veil during lessons has lost her claims of discrimination and harassment.

Kirklees Council suspended Aishah Azmi, 24, after she refused to remove her veil during the English lessons she was teaching at Headfield Church of England Junior School in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

The case has attracted nationwide interest after former foreign minister Jack Straw said Muslim women who wore full veils made community relations difficult.

The case fuelled an ongoing debate about the use of the veil and the way that the Muslim community integrates into British society.

Ms Azmi was awarded £1,100 for "injury to feelings" after she succeeded in her claim of victimisation. But her claims of direct and indirect discrimination, and her claim of harassment, were dismissed.

In a statement, Ms Azmi criticised ministers who had intervened in the case and said it made her "fearful of the consequences for Muslim women in this country who want to work".

She said she was considering an appeal against the decision to dismiss three of her claims.

"It is clear that discrimination against me has taken place and I am disappointed that the Employment Tribunal has not been able to uphold that part of my claim," she said.

"I am taking the advice of my legal team at Kirklees Law Centre and will be looking to appeal against that decision. However, I am pleased that the tribunal have recognised the victimising way in which the school and the local education authority have handled this matter and the distress that has caused me."

Ms Azmi, of Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, has said she was willing to remove her veil in front of children - but not when male colleagues were present.

In other news, a British airways employee has been suspended from work for refusing to remove a Christian crucifix necklace.

Nadia Eweida, a check-in worker at London's Heathrow Airport, told the Daily Mail newspaper that she was suing the airline for religious discrimination after being sent home for breaching BA's dress code.